Life, Once Again! - Chapter 466
He always thought that he should quit smoking. Dongwook put a cigarette between his lips and his nose and hesitated for a few seconds before putting it in his mouth. He crumpled the empty pack of cigarettes and stood up. It was sad that he lived in an era where he couldn’t smoke in buildings.
Just as he left the building, lit his cigarette, and was about to take a puff, his phone in his pocket started vibrating. He stared at the bright red tip of the cigarette before throwing it away while wondering if this was heaven’s decree for him to quit smoking.
-Senior, it’s me. Miyeon.
“Oh my. Journalist Choi. What happened that such a busy person like you would call me? Oh! Sorry, I just got something important so I think I need to hang up right n….”
-Senior, I tried digging into Lee Miyoon, and I found something interesting.
Dongwook g.r.o.a.n.e.d. This reckless junior of his clearly intended to speak without listening to him. Rather than that, something ‘interesting’ she said. He made a bitter smile. If that ‘interesting’ thing was what he thought it was, this junior had a huge misunderstanding.
“You were still doing that?”
“I shouldn’t have listened to you back then. What kind of journalist am I? I’m just an internet journalist.”
Dongwook stomped on the cigarette on the floor with his heels.
“So? Where are you right now?”
* * *
Dongwook walked up to Choi Miyeon, who was waving her hand at him.
“Buy me food.”
“That’s the first thing you say to me?”
“Of course, what else would I say to you?”
“Then I’ll buy some bread.”
“Do you really have to open your junior’s wallet like that? Aren’t you supposed to be treating me since you receive a monthly salary from JA?”
“But you get your monthly salary from Sharon, don’t you? I heard that magazine journalists have a pretty decent income these days.”
“That only applies to those that get good interviews. I’m already outside of their circle.”
“Who told you to go around prying into other people’s embarrassing things? You should’ve stuck to writing rumors. You know, things like who likes who, who and who wore matching shirts. If you dig into idols, you could’ve created a huge issue. Why don’t you stop being the journalist of justice after today?”
“I’m not going to. Also, stuff like that doesn’t interest me. What are you going to drink?”
Miyeon put in an order before coming back. She took out a few notebooks from her bag that she always carried around as soon as she sat down and put them on the table.
“What’s all this?”
The madam huh. Dongwook opened the notebooks on the table. There were various news article snippets from various newspapers. Ad.s, press releases, casting stories. All of them were related to the entertainment industry.
“What about this?”
“I tried tracing the changes in the actors after the madam – that is, Lee Miyoon – used her connections to help them out.”
“Connections? You mean this?”
Dongwook made a circle with his left hand and repeatedly moved his right index finger in and out. Miyeon shook her head in denial before slapping his left hand.
“It’s the same thing. Anyway, do you think you’ll be able to find the relationship? All of this will only make sense if you have the evidence that these men s.e.x.u.a.lly serviced her before they scored themselves a contract or an ad.”
“There is a testimony from the actress I talked about before.”
“But she committed suicide. Did you get a recording?”
“No, I didn’t.”
“I got into contact with someone who used to work for her. He goes by the name ‘head manager Lee’, and he’s a broker who connects celebrities to the VIPs.”
Dongwook faintly smiled as Miyeon spoke,
“Through that actress’s connections. That man also said that he’s having a hard time, that he wants to quit, and that he wants to live a carefree life after putting everything down.”
“What a convenient coincidence.”
Dongwook closed the notebooks.
“Look here. You said that the actress that caused you to jump into this whole investigation committed suicide, right?”
“A joint suicide with her son. However, the news article said that she was unable to endure the hardsh.i.p.s of everyday life. It mentions that in her last will as well. For now, it will be extremely difficult to prove that she was involved in s.e.x.u.a.l bribery.”
“That’s why I went around asking questions myself.”
Just then, they were notified that their drinks were out. Miyeon sighed and brought the drinks. Dongwook took a sip before saying that it was bitter.
“Well then. Let’s leave aside the deceased actress and talk about the current situation. An actress belonging to MH Entertainer has caused an uproar regarding s.e.x.u.a.l bribery. Immediately after that, The Five, belonging to the same agency, revealed the unfair contract incident. Regardless of their relationship, the incident where that actress sued for s.e.x.u.a.l bribery has been forgotten to the point that no one knows about it anymore. After that, The Five went separate ways, and three of them joined the new agency named Soul. That’s the current situation, right?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“And one of your claims is that one or more boy idols belonging to The Five was involved in s.e.x.u.a.l bribery and that Lee Miyoon is involved in it as well, right?”
“I told you that before, yes.”
“To use as evidence for that, you have the testimony of the actress who left MH, but she has already reached an agreement, and that actress does not wish for this to become any bigger. That’s also correct, isn’t it?”
“Senior, what do you want to say?”
Dongwook raised his index finger as he spoke.
“What I want to say is that all the facts that you are speculating are based on the testimony of just one person. All the evidence you have about the previous incidents comes from this head manager Lee that you met through the connections of that actress.”
Miyeon spoke in a strong tone. Dongwook squeezed a lot of syrup into his coffee as he listened to her.
“This stuff is bitter even with sugar. Anyway, you’re thinking this, aren’t you? That there’s a connection between the broker and Lee Miyoon, and that you should be able to tie the current incident with the past one once the investigation begins.”
“You’re being way too hasty.”
“Did your skills rust after you quit the newspaper company? Or did you become blind because you want to beat up all the bad guys with your hands?”
Dongwook subconsciously reached into his jacket pocket and frowned after realizing that the only thing in there was a lighter.
“There are people related to the media in the list that the MH actress showed you, right? What do you think they did right after that incident became public?”
“Clean up after themselves?”
“They should have taken measures so that not only they wouldn’t get in trouble, but Lee Miyoon wouldn’t get into trouble either. If all your assumptions are true, Lee Miyoon and Soul must be tied to each other. I’m not sure if their CEO Hong Janghae is involved with her, or she’s involved with someone else in the company, but it’s true that they now harbor the idols that became problematic to other agencies. But you know? There’s no one that would hug a bomb that’s about to explode. Only after being assured that it wouldn’t explode would they then take it.”
Only after seeing Miyeon nod did Dongwook take out a notepad from his pocket.
“You told me back then in the pojang-macha, didn’t you? That nothing changes even if you know that the king’s ears are donkey ears.”
He opened his notepad and showed her a phone number. After seeing that number, Miyeon widened her eyes in shock.
“How do you know head manager Lee’s number?”
“I haven’t been fooling around after all. While I was digging into the 15 billion won scam, I looked into this as well. It was thanks to a certain junior of mine who went around rampantly like a damn horse.”
Dongwook closed his notepad and told her to call head manager Lee. Miyeon hurriedly took out her phone and inputted the number. She waited with a serious face as she put her phone against her ears, and after a while, she made a dazed expression.
“What happened? Why is this person arrested?”
“That just goes to show that you aren’t the only journalist in the world full of justice. A media journalist who investigated this incident just like you did, persuaded that broker and turned him in. That broker did not deny any claims and received his sentence cleanly.”
“I didn’t know. Just two weeks ago, he told me that I was the only one he told.”
“Like hell that was true.”
“Then this incident is solved right?”
Hearing Miyeon’s words, Dongwook smiled.
“It’s been packaged really well. It’s a typical case of cutting off the tail.”
“The list that that broker left behind did not contain the names of anyone important, nor were there any names of celebrities. Lee Miyoon, the woman you hate so much, isn’t in it either. He apparently just connected the prostitution business to ordinary people.”
“No way. He told me that they were related….”
“Consider yourself fortunate that you weren’t the one who called the police. That other journalist that believed in the broker’s words and was preparing to broadcast it through the media has quit as of yesterday.”
“In a few days, there will be a small article about it. That some journalist sued some unrelated people for prostitution. It will be a short issue, but the people coming across it will probably think that the prostitution issue is nothing amazing after all. That it was over after the investigation back then. Well, not that many people would have any interest in the first place.”
“I’ll try going to that journalist you mentioned.”
“Unfortunately, that sounds incredibly difficult too.”
“That guy went to Hawaii.”
“Hawaii. You don’t know Hawaii?”
“But you told me that person wrote the report.”
“But why Hawaii?”
“People can’t stay just forever. They say a cornered rat will bite, so what do you think a human would do? First, they should have threatened that guy saying that they are going to sue back for false accusation and defamation. Being cornered, that journalist would try to reveal everything to the public, and right at that time, they would approach that journalist with the hand of reconciliation. Along with a hefty sum of money too. They’ll tell that person: ‘That was a good fight. You were splendid. But what good is that? Who would acknowledge you for your efforts? Take this money and have a nice rest.’ Well, they could also promise that person his return to the job. Lastly, they might console the guy by saying that they did their best.”
“Then what about the past incidents?”
“Thanks to a few journalists, they now have a clean ending. It’s to the point that you won’t be able to bring them up anymore. There is that case of s.e.x.u.a.l bribery of that actress from MH, but there shouldn’t be any room for you to dig into with regards to that.”
“What if I meet that actress again and tell her that we should fight together….”
“I heard she drew the line saying that she will no longer be involved, didn’t she? You want to pry into people who already reached an agreement and received the money because of your exhausting justice? You’ll probably come across a lawyer before that. That lawyer will tell you to stop digging into something that was resolved already.”
Dongwook pushed his coffee cup to one side.
“That’s why I told you that you shouldn’t do this. I tried doing some investigations myself and burned up my sense of journalism, but this is how it ends.”
Miyeon bit her lower lips and put the notebooks inside her bag.
“I don’t plan to end things like this.”
“I thought you’d say that.”
“There must be a way. There are always whistle-blowers, aren’t there? Perhaps someone is waiting for us to come to them.”
“You said you don’t want to get involved, but you looked into this quite a lot.”
“That’s because it’s an opportunity to put my name on a huge scandal if things go well.”
“Don’t lie to me.”
“What do you know about me? I’m the type of guy who was happy to see the monthly salary piling up even when I was a journalist at the TV station. I exchanged my pride as a journalist for candy a long time ago.”
“I know that you’re only saying those words and don’t actually mean it. Let’s go, senior.”
“You know this better than me. Tell me where I should start digging.”
“I’d love to, but I have stuff to do too. I’m under a contract after all.”
“Stuff to do?”
“I have to write about a movie. I need to do an interview as well. The movie produced by the proud JA is finally out, so I should get working.”
“So, where are you going?”
“The cinema. I didn’t go to the preview because it was way too troublesome. I’m going to watch it by myself quietly and write about it.”
“Then let me go with you?”
“Because I’m a magazine journalist. I’ll write about that movie as well in our magazine.”
“It’s not a movie suitable to be talked about in a women’s fashion magazine.”
“What movie is it?”
Dongwook put his notepad inside his pocket and said,
“A movie about a crazy old man cracking open the heads of his own children with a frigging hammer.”